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During standoff, it treaded lightly

Published April 20, 2007


The unsung hero in last week's 10-hour hostage standoff lives in the back of a truck.

A few hours after Jeffrey Lane Dudney took hostages inside Shooting Sports on N Dale Mabry Highway, duty called for Andros F6A, a 300-pound robot lovingly referred to by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office bomb squad as "Andy" or "Six."

"The guy said he didn't want to see any police," said John Murray Jr., one of the hostages.

So about 200 sheriff's deputies stayed out of sight as the $180,000 robot whirred toward the building to retrieve a set of car keys. Cpl. Jimmie Fordham ran the thing from about 300 yards away using a remote control. After it retrieved the keys, the 3-year-old Remotec robot brought the gunman a bag of Xanax in exchange for a hostage, Murray, who crawled to safety.

You know the rest.

Turns out the robot is deployed hundreds of times a year to check suspicious packages and show off for schoolkids. It records video and audio, can pick up an egg without cracking the shell and appreciates a yearly lube job.


[Last modified April 20, 2007, 00:33:26]

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